Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Volk - January 2008 - January 2021

 We had to put Volk down today. He had congestive heart failure and was not going to recover. He was 13 years old and until the last week was still going strong. Maybe a bit slower but on our 4 km walks he sniffed and peed as good as any young dog. Then he quit eating and because the weather was so cold, we brought him inside. His breathing was fast and shallow. I'd take him out to do his business and he was mad we were not going for a walk. Then three days ago he collapsed and I had to carry him home.

After that I would carry him out and back. Last evening he couldn't do that. We'd had the vet out to look at him and put him on antibiotics, diuretics and heart pills but it was too late. So today we said it is time. Never an easy call. Volk was one tough bird; he fought to stand and walk to the bitter end.

Volk and Bobik at 2 months of age
Volk was born of purebred Fox Terrier parents which belonged to Tanya's friends in P'yatikhatki. They had two males left, so in March of 2008, we bought them for the princely sum of 1 Hrivna each (to make it "legal"). I named the dark one Volk (wolf) and Tanya named the lighter one Bobik (mutt). They were outdoor dogs from day one and had lots of fun as puppies, play fighting with each other and hunting in the grass and reeds as we went for walks. I loved walking the two dogs on or off leash. We had fun.

Age 6 years
They were hunters and had no interest in toys. Throw a stick and they look at you like you are missing marbles. Chickens and cats were fun to chase when they were pups and couldn't catch them. It wasn't fun anymore when they started catching them and Volk was the terror of neighbourhood cats all his life.

Play fighting got serious when they matured. They were evenly matched so there was no top dog. They should have been neutered but were not. Not my idea. They were jealous of each other and fought to kill at the drop of a pat on the other dog. Once they were separated and cooled off they licked each other's wounds. 

In spring and fall we tried to keep them locked up but they were escape artists. They would disappear three days at a time and one or the other would eventually come home beaten to a bloody pulp. They would tag team other males in the neighbourhood but then would turn on each other. Bobik was a climber and it cost him. In 2014 while I was in Canada, he was climbing over a 1.8 meter fence to meet his girl friend. Once too often. He slipped and caught his collar. I still miss him. 

To prevent Volk from getting lonely we adopted a stray red female which we named Kashtanka (little chestnut) and had her neutered. The three of us went on many walks. I had to keep her on a leash as she chased people on bicycles. Kashtanka died in February 2020 from a tick borne blood parasite Which is particular to Europe. The winter was so warm  that the ticks never died off.  We had no idea. By the time we realized how sick she was it was too late. We have since been treating our dogs for ticks every month. Volk sat by the gate and cried for a month after she died. Today I let Lucky see and sniff Volk's body so he would know that Volk was gone and not go looking for him or cry waiting for him to come back.

A couple months after we lost Kashtanka, Volk was diagnosed with heart-worm. So we treated him for that all summer and he recovered totally. Like I said, he is one tough bird. He was getting cataracts but could still spot a cat crossing the road at 100 meters. We think he was getting deaf but he always listened like a two-year old kid so it was hard to tell. 

Lucky, about 1 year
Lucky joined us in October 2019 as a starving 6 week old puppy in very poor health. We nursed him back to health and after Kashtanka died we put him in the dog yard with Volk. Lucky wanted to play and Volk was old and cranky. They got on fine. I would walk them five km per day five days a week. Tanya would feed them and play with Lucky to make sure he ate as Volk would try to keep Lucky away from both food dishes. Lucky loves to play with toys. He will come when he is called (Volk NEVER did) and will sit when Tanya tells him to. She feeds him, he obeys her. Me too.

Volk would occasionally tune Lucky in, even though Lucky was twice his size. And Lucky would not eat unless Tanya was there to keep Volk away. Then Lucky got jealous of Volk and would attack him savagely. Volk never backed down and every fight looked like one for the ages but...they NEVER drew blood. No serious biting, just serious sounds. Regardless, it was still not something we encouraged, I can tell you.

Tanya made winter coats for the dogs out of people vests. Much cheaper than buying doggy coats in the pets stores. We took them off on warm days and put them on when the nights were below freezing. They had a dog house, inside a room in our outbuilding but she worried. And we were never sure if Volk let Lucky sleep in the doghouse. So when the weather got really cold last week, we brought Lucky into the back porch. A few days later was when we brought Volk inside and when his heart gave out. The three of us had our last 4 km walk together about a week ago. I did not ever think it would be our last. 

Goodbye my friend and companion. I hope you meet up with Bobik and Kashtanka in Heaven where all good dogs go. and may there be lots of cats and chickens to chase but never catch.

Bobik and Volk at 5 months

Bobik about 3 or 4 years

Lucky and Volk this past summer


  1. Oh Papa. I’m so sorry. What a wonderful tribute to a good old dog. Sending you all the love and hoping that Lucky will help ease the pain.

  2. Bronwyn, Volk was indeed a good dog. He loved people. He will be missed by so many who knew him. But now I can concentrate on Lucky and maybe calm him down a bit. He is a clever dog and so I must work on him. Tanya will help too.

  3. Weeping with you. Weeping for you. They wind themselves deep into our heart strings and take a piece of us with them when they leave.

  4. E.C. Thank you. They sure do burrow deep into our hearts, don't they. Fur babies are family. He was a good boy.

  5. Love you,pops. As good of a pup as there has been, Volk was.

  6. Farewell, Volk, you good dog and true. Condolences to all who loved him.

  7. Graeme, Love you too, my son. Yes, he was a good dog. He marched to his own drummer but he loved people.

    Debra, thanks. Volk was a people dog. Never barked at passers by, welcomed pats from all who met him. He will be missed.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about Volk. It's so hard to lose a furry member of the family - my heart hurts for you.

  9. It is hard losing a friend and member of the family - we can't call them pets, they are so much a part of us. The pain is deep, but the memories are warm
    the Ol'Buzzard

  10. Oh that is really hard, to lose Volk after so many long walks and such companionship. But you have given him a glorious sendoff with such a loving obituary, and now here I am with tears in my eyes. He'll have fun with his doggy friends in doggy heaven, and I wish good luck to all the cats and chickens that he encounters there.

  11. Thanks, Ol'Buzzard. They are indeed part of the family. Tanya hurts so much after each loss she swears no more pets but how can one be whole without pets?

    Shammickite, we put a lot of miles on together, he and I over 13 years. Now to get out there and walk with Lucky as he has so much energy. The two of us, Lucky and I will remember Volk on our walks

  12. Oh Allen, I'm so sad for you and Tanya...losing a pet is losing your best sorry

  13. Yes, Jackiesue, you know so well after losing Dexter. Hugs

  14. I am so sorry for your profound loss, 13 Years is a long time to be part of the Family and then to have that Void left behind. We're still adjusting to Miss Priss passing just after Thanksgiving, first time ever we haven't had a Pet in the household, it feel strange... and yet, I'm not wanting to take on a long term commitment/responsibility for another living thing right now and at our advanced precarious season of life... especially during Pandemic. It seems a lot of Pets are succumbing during COVID and I'm wondering if the Animal population has some kind of equivalent going around? Anyway, may the fond Memories of your Beloved Fur Baby sustain you as you Grieve the loss.

  15. Thank you, Dawn. Sorry about your Miss Priss, too. I cannot imagine being without a pet but it certainly is a long term commitment. The love we get makes it worth the sadness when they leave us to cross the rainbow bridge.

  16. I just finally saw this. I think it’s a kind and loving memorial. My sympathies.

  17. Thanks, Raven. I have written four eulogies. Two for relatives and two for beloved old dogs. My way of dealing with sadness.


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